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Senator Tim Johnson: Update

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South Dakota senior Senator Tim Johnson remains in an in-patient rehabilitation center in Washington, D.C. as he continues his recovery from the arteriovenous malformation that struck him late last year. Before falling ill, Johnson was already considered one of the few vulnerable Democratic Senators up for reelection in 2008, due to the demographics of his home state. Now, more than 4 months later, with his personal health improving each month, Johnson's political fate (and the fate of his important Democratic seat in the Senate) remains uncertain.

In his favor, Senator Johnson is extremely popular back home—with approval ratings frequently reaching 70 percent before being taken ill. However, South Dakota is a red state and should be able to field a strong candidate against Johnson.

Whether or not Johnson will be able to travel the state and campaign person-to-person is not yet clear. Johnson is trying to remain engaged as a Senator from his rehabilitation facility. For example, in late March 2007, Johnson approved the use of his proxy in a Senate Appropriations Committee mark-up in support of the Democratic-led emergency supplemental spending bill. But Johnson has obviously not been able to come to the Senate chamber to cast votes, including some very important (and close) votes on the Iraq war.

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Remains of the Data

Strange Bedfellows: A Historical Review of Divided US Senate Delegations

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The North Carolina U.S. Senate race between Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan and Republican Thom Tillis may go down to the wire next Tuesday, but along the way Libertarian nominee Sean Haugh is poised to set a state record for a non-major party candidate. Haugh, who previously won 1.5 percent of the vote in the Tar Heel State's 2002 race, has polled at or above five percent in 10 of the last 12 polls that included his name. The current high water mark for a third party or independent candidate in a North Carolina U.S. Senate election is just 3.3 percent, recorded by Libertarian Robert Emory back in 1992. Only one other candidate has eclipsed the three percent mark - Libertarian Christopher Cole with 3.1 percent in 2008.


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Two sitting governors currently hold the record for the highest gubernatorial vote ever received in their respective states by a non-incumbent: Republican Matt Mead of Wyoming (65.7 percent in 2010) and outgoing GOPer Dave Heineman of Nebraska (73.4 percent in 2006). Republican Gary Herbert of Utah had not previously won a gubernatorial contest when he notched a state record 64.1 percent for his first victory in 2010, but was an incumbent at the time after ascending to the position in 2009 after the early departure of Jon Huntsman. Meanwhile, two sitting governors hold the record in their states for the lowest mark ever recorded by a winning gubernatorial candidate (incumbent or otherwise): independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (36.1 percent in 2010) and Democrat Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (47.8 percent in 2013).


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